Diana Ross realized her childhood dreams as part of The Supremes and later, as a solo artist. With carefully designed Motown talent and image, she became a symbol of glamor, success, and time in pop music.
Ross (and her predecessor) have influenced a number of singers since their release in the 1950s, but not everything has been rosy. At times, she complains of controversy as a result of her off-platform behavior, including an alleged incident involving an airline employee.
The Supremes got a review of Las Vegas
In 1966, the Supremes suffered a rift in their ranks between Florence Ballard and Diana Ross. Much of it was tied to Berry Gordy’s treatment of Ross and his understanding of favoring his personal and professional needs. But that didn’t stop the group from recording, performing and organizing shows.
They made a major comeback at the Flamingo Hotel in Las Vegas, making their debut at the center in September 1966. The group played a medley of their tours through mid-October, and while waited, Ross and Berry spent some time gambling.
But Ross was forced to return home for a dental emergency, which is when a problem arose.
Diana Ross reportedly hit an airline agent with a puppy and a hat box
According to J. Randy Taraborrelli Diana Ross: Biography, Berry arranged a trip for Ross to return to California for dental work. She had a meeting in the morning after her first night at the Supremes at the Flamingo.
So Berry set up a plane, helicopter, and limousine to take her and her manager Joe Schaffner to Burbank, and then a return trip. Per Taraborrelli, when she arrived at the ticket desk to fly back to Las Vegas, was “still in pain and in a bad mood as a result.”
The Western Airlines representative told Ross she could not take her dog on the fly. “Which dog?” Why is this a hat box with a hat in it, ”said Ross.
Ross was apparently caught in the box, and the agent heard the barking. Ross denied any wrongdoing and asked the woman if she accused him of lying.
Schaffner tried to dismiss the situation. He explained that they took the dog for the first time and begged the rep to do it again.
When they refused again, Ross lost “her temple” and told the agent that she was rude, and that the last thing she needed was after dental work. She picked up her stage show in Las Vegas, but then took it a step further, according to Taraborrelli.
Schaffner shook as he shared the details. “Before I knew it, Diane took the hat box and started hitting the agent high over his head – and the damn dog was still in the box!” he said.
Berry Gordy was upset with Ross
How would they get around that debate? Schaffner apologized and “slipped some money for the agent for her trouble and favor.”
As soon as Ross and Schaffner arrived in Las Vegas, he informed Gordy about the messenger. Gordy was unhappy about it, and gave Ross a long criticism of her behavior and reminded him of proper manners.